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Fishermen's Journal


Southern California / Baja
Striped Marlin and Blue Marlin Trolling Techniques

by Bob Hoose, Sevenstrand Tackle Corp.

Over the years I have spent countless days on the water pursuing billfish and tuna.   Most of my trips have been in either Baja or Southern California targeting striped marlin and blues / blacks in Mexico.  Fishing with some of the best crews and boats, I  would like to share with you what I personally have seen work offshore.  I have fished 7strand lures all my life so this article is focused on 7strands product line for billfish.

Striper on a CL1200F #102Lets start with Southern California striped marlin fishing.  I like a four lure presentation with a pair of short flat lines and a pair of long rigger lines.   The lure spread is in a "w" formation with lures on the 2nd through 5th waves back.  For striped marlin, I prefer 6 1/2 - 7 knots because the lures I use swim best at this speed and I seem to "spot" more tailers,sleepers, or feeders while glassing (binos) at this speed.  On the short flat line, I usually pull a purple/black #100 or #91 CL1220C Kona Clone.  On the opposite short flat another CL1220C in mean joe green #50.  The Kona Clones just got worldwide recognition in MARLIN MAGAZINE March 2000 for one of the top ten lures of all time, and believe me they have earned it!

KONA JET #41 patternFrom the riggers, I usually pull a Pro 6 in #N102 which we call "parrot."  The Pro 6 is an awesome slanted swimmer and works beautifully off the riggers in almost any sea condition.   On the other rigger, one of my all around favorites is a CL1210C in something bright like #98 goatfish/hot pink or #N42 blue/pink.  The CL1210C compliments the spread by offering a smaller target and also is deadly on big eye tuna when they are mixed in an area with billfish.  I rig all my billfish lures with single hook rigs and prefer them over the doubles for both hook-up ratios and ease of releasing a fish.

This same lure spread works beautifully on Cabo stripers, except I usually mix in a couple colors to match local bait conditions.  On the flat lines, a pair of CL1220C in #49 mackeral and a #98 goatfish or #102 pro dolphin.  On the riggers, the Pro 6 in #N112 is an excellent squid color and just seems to really produce in Baja.  If I see signs of small flyers, a CL1210C in #N42 blue/pink or #N41 blue mackeral is effective off the rigger.   Another reason why I pull CL1210C is the dorado and tuna will hammer that small Kona Clone like no other.

Sailfish on a SofTop #102 patternSummer and fall in Baja is blues, blacks, and wahoo.  Skippers like to pull lures at 8-10 knots while targeting the bigger billfish.  It simply amazing to watch a big blue charge "the corner" and eat a lure right off the transom. For this position, try pulling a Pro 850 in a dark color like #N50 mean joe green or #N97 blue/purple.  This chugger smokes and swims best in the short position.  The opposite side I like a Pro 5 in #N102.  This lure was responsible for my biggest black in Cabo last season on the Gordo Bank.  From the riggers, a CL1220C in #101 bleeding mackeral and a Pro 6 in #N42 blue/pink completes the Baja spread.  Again, I use only single hook rigs on my blue/black marlin lures.  If you want the latest "hot" lure color, 7strands #94 petrolaro and our #223 orange dorado are a must for big blue lures.  The Mexicans will just drool when you pull these two weapons out of your lure bag.

Dorado - 1210 Kona CloneFor those interested in trying soft lures, our new SOFTOPS have been tested and proven all over the world.  For sailfish, most crews prefer the ST150 rigged with a ballyhoo underneath the skirt.  For mainland Mexico, our ST250 in #112 zucchini was a "boat stopper" last season.  The ST450 also works well for bait-n-switch techniques on striped marlin.

I hope this article helps you plan your next trip offshore and my special thanks to Mark at charkbait.com for his support over the years.

Catch em up,
Bob Hoose

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Last modified: 06/09/13.